Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams announced the city is ready to build its first inclusive playground at Hickory Park after receiving a $225,000 grant from the state’s Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
The playground will provide children of all abilities and needs a place to play with their friends and families.
“It’s great to know that we will have an all-inclusive playground for those with special needs,” Adams said. “It will be the largest playground for that purpose. It will fulfill that need between northeast Arkansas and northwest Arkansas. We’ll be the biggest one.”
In Oct., the mayor and city officials traveled to Little Rock to propose their $250,000 vision, the maximum amount, for Hickory Park to the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. The department awarded Mountain Home with the most money possible based on current funding levels.
The grant requires the city to match its $250,000 for the full development of the park. Hickory Park is the second park to receive new funding in Mountain Home. The Clysta Willett Park received a $95,000 grant for upgrades in 2019.
“We anticipate a lot of folks, not only in this community but within an hour or some from here, will use this thing because there won’t be anything like it in this part of the state,” Adams said. “That’s something to be very proud of.”
The Mayor’s Office also released a concept drawing of the park’s Monday announcement. The picture shows some of the playground’s new features, including a wheelchair-accessible jungle gym, modified see-saws, music station, swings and more.
The city will also install new barrier-free restrooms and a barrier-free parking lot. The park’s baseball field will be revamped to accommodate children with special needs. New terraced amphitheater-style seating will also be built on the hill below the playground facing the park’s Farmers and Merchants Banks Stage.
Adams said work on the new playground would start at the beginning of next year.
“We’re hoping to be done with the project by May,” Adams said. “We want to be done with it before season three of the Baxter Summer Concert Series starts. We’re shooting to be done with it by early May.”